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Cheers! Real ale enthusiasts celebrate being back in pub - and say you should too

PUBLISHED: 12:23 07 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:57 07 July 2020

Patrick Smith, vice chairman of East Norfolk CAMRA celebrates being back in the pub with fellow real ale fans Picture: Supplied by Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith, vice chairman of East Norfolk CAMRA celebrates being back in the pub with fellow real ale fans Picture: Supplied by Patrick Smith

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For Patrick Smith nothing beats a glass of his favourite real ale in a proper glass in a proper pub.

Real ale afficionados made a bee line for the Kings Arms in Northgate Street as soon as the pubs reopened on July 4. They have issued a Real ale afficionados made a bee line for the Kings Arms in Northgate Street as soon as the pubs reopened on July 4. They have issued a "use it, or lose it" ultimatum to the public encouraging them to support their local Picture: Patrick Smith

The 66-year-old former trading standards officer said taking a sip of his first pint pulled at the pump at lunchtime on Saturday (July 4) was “gorgeous.”

Mr Smith, from Gorleston, as vice chair of East Norfolk Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) is acutely aware of the potential impact of Covid-19 on pubs whose numbers are already in decline.

Deprived of visiting his favourite watering holes for some 15 weeks he booked a table for a self-distanced six at the Kings Arms in Northgate Street, Great Yarmouth, and the nearby Tombstone Saloon as soon as the Government announced a tentative reopening for July 4.

His one worry - that the beer would be brewed from old stock and “a bit stale” - came to nothing and he was pleasantly surprised to find his favourite tipple as fresh as ever.

“A lot of people, most people, were very sensible.

“There was a lot of disinfecting of hands and tables going on and leaving your contact details is entirely fair enough.

“For Camra it is all about the beer,” he said.

“We want it kept in good condition.

“Where we drink it is an entirely separate matter.

“But we do like variety.

“There are pubs for every occasion.

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“Every pub is different and we have lost an awful lot in Yarmouth and Gorleston in the last ten years.”

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He estimated some 15pc of pubs had closed, most recently the landmark White Swan in North Quay - with those that remained more precarious than ever.

Across the borough not all had swung open their doors, and some might stay permanently closed, he said.

At least two in Gorleston were at risk with others changing hands so often it was hard to say what the future held.

“I encourage eveybody who wants to have a pub near them to use it.

“Camra’s opinion is that you cannot sell real ale without a pub.

“It is very difficult for pubs. They are having to have more staff but fewer customers.

“If we do not support them we are going to lose them.

“Your pub needs you.

“It is important to encourage local businesses to try to get them through the current crisis.

“Camra also campaigns for pubs because nothing effects the availability of real ale like a closed pub.

To find out more about East Norfolk Camra visit their website here.

MORE: Six arrested for drunk and disorderly behaviour on night pubs returned to business


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